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With Opening Day closing in, we’re doing a few short posts on the major storylines that will likely dominate your conversations about the Reds this season. You can find the previous installment, about Zack Cozart, here.
Here at Cincinnati Magazine, we had so much fun launching our Bengals Blog that we've decided to write about the Reds, too. To get things started, I've written a sprawling essay about young pitchers. Several talented writers will be pitching in, so stayed tuned.
Back before the season, I made predictions for several prop bets involving Bengals players. I updated you on their progress four games into the season, and then totally forgot about it. But in preparation for the Bengals playoff game in Houston this weekend, I thought it might be fun to see how they turned out. Like the team as a whole, most of the Bengals outperformed expectations. Since I picked more overs than unders, I came out a winner, too.
Last week, I went 8-8, which included correctly forecasting a Bengals win. That puts me one game under .500 for the year. As most of you probably don’t remember, I started 44-33 through Week 5, but it’s been all downhill since. Now, I’ve got just one week left to redeem myself and end the year with a winning record. In the final week of the season, several teams have nothing to play for, either because they’ve locked up their playoff spots or because they’re completely out of contention. That makes it harder to predict what might happen. For instance, if Aaron Rodgers doesn’t play, the Packers become much less attractive as a 3.5-point underdog against the Lions. On with the picks:
Last week, I continued to perform about as well as if I were to flip a coin. I went 7-9 and continued to hover around .500 for the year. Somehow, there were eight games last week with a 6.5-point spread, and I picked the favorite in all of them. Of course, I went 4-4 in those games. Three of the nearly-by-a-touchdown favorites—Giants, Texans, and Titans—all lost badly straight up to last-place teams. Houston’s loss to Carolina was especially embarrassing: The Panthers scored a touchdown on a trick play called “the Annexation of Puerto Rico” from the classic 1994 film Little Giants.